National Park Service and Forest Service Policies For Possible Government Shutdown

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In the event of a partial government shutdown, the National Park Service has informed some concessioners that they can operate during the shutdown if their continued operations do not result in the Park exceeding the number of staff which have been approved to support essential activities or otherwise do not cause the Park to incur expenditures or obligations in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act.  However, each concessioner will need the permission of the Park Superintendent in order to continue to operate.  The criteria which have been provided are as follows:

  • The concessioner or CUA holder does not require access to a closed NPS facility or area.
  • The concessioner or CUA holder does not require NPS monitoring and regulatory oversight in the short term.
  • The concessioner confirms in writing that its existing agreement requires it to indemnify NPS and the United States for any liabilities that may be incurred as a result of its operations during the government shutdown.
  • The concessioner acknowledges in writing that NPS-provided visitor services will be unavailable, and emergency and rescue services will be limited.

In addition, NPS’ general policy also states that “commercial facilities located on through-roads (roads or public highways that begin and end outside of a park, plus parkways) and public highways may remain open if doing so does not result in additional costs to the park (for example, the staffing of entrance stations).”

The Forest Service has indicated that its intention is to follow the same policy guidelines  which were issued last year.   Those guidelines allow concessions which do not require day-to-day Forest Service employee administration to remain open.  The agency will make this determination on a case-by-case basis.  However, the guidelines note that examples of concessions that meet these criteria are ski areas, resorts, concession campgrounds and outfitters and guides.

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